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Nebraska City High School Sports Awards—second installment

Kirt Manion
Nebraska City News-Press

High school athletics stopped in the middle of March, just as athletes were gearing up for their spring seasons at Nebraska City High School.

Athletes, coaches and parents recently took a time out of their own to honor the seasons that were and the seasons that could have been during the Nebraska City High School Sports 2019-20 Awards Ceremony.

Coaches thanked the Booster Club for putting on the show, the parents for their support and the athletes for the honor of leading them.

Below is the second of three articles about the 2019-20 athletic seasons at Nebraska City High School.

Victoria Ward, girls’ tennis

The Nebraska City tennis season didn’t get going last spring due to COVID-19, but the preseason was as great as one could ask for when it came to weather.

The team got out on the courts and got work in and were ready to attack the season.

There were 20 athletes out for tennis including 12 newcomers and a solid core of returners.

Ward said, without a doubt, Madison Borns and Paige Stones would have been the No. 1 and No. 2 players for Nebraska City this season. Both were set to complete their fourth year in the program.

Borns was named for the Dr. R.C. Weldon Girls Tennis award.

Justin Parr, girls’ basketball

Athletic Director Matt Koehler delivered remarks on behalf of Coach Parr, who was not able to attend.

Koehler said the Nebraska City team wanted to send out special thanks to coaches Thomas Trice and Britt Rosane for their steady and knowledgeable guidance.

The girls’ team struggled with injuries this year to top performers.

Mara Davis and Taelyn Allen were lost to injury.  Both were seniors. Other seniors and significant players for Nebraska City were Abby Balfour, Patricia Trice and Selena Balquier.

Koehler relayed the message that the seniors were hard working and loved to compete.

Koehler said that while the team’s season record wasn’t what it hoped for,  Parr had said that no one could judge this team without seeing their practices as well as their games.

Parr had further noted that the Pioneers were in close games against top notch competition, including a four-point loss to 15-9 Brownell-Talbot and an overtime loss to a 16-8 and state qualifying Platteview team.

“They never gave up and that says a lot about their character and commitment,” Parr said in a statement.

The winner of the Carl Fielder Outstanding Female Senior Basketball Player award was Trice. In talking about Trice, Koehler relayed that she was humble, aggressive, smart and unselfish.

Tiffany Tharp, cheerleading

Coach Tiffany Tharp said her cheerleaders did a good job of meeting the expectation of the cheer team by being ambassadors of the school.

She said that leadership is a constant with the cheerleading squad and the cheer team must be continuously aware that their behavior at school, at games and in the community reflect on the Pioneer family.

Tharp said the leadership role might be expected of the team captain but that all have a chance to show leadership day-to-day.

The Eagles’ Cheerleader/Wrestling Cheerleader Award went to Kelsey Ramage.

Tharp said Ramage began her career as a shy freshman and went on to be a loud and proud senior cheerleader who displayed all the characteristics required for the award.

Tyler Hodges, wrestling

Coach Tyler Hodges began his talk with the girls’ wrestling team, which has been a feature of the Pioneer program for three years.

Girls’ wrestling has been voted as an emerging sport by the NSAA and may soon be sanctioned.

Hodges said when the Pioneer girls’ team began, the wrestlers were competing with the boys on the team. The team now has its own identity and own practice space.

This year, eight Pioneers went to compete in the 39-team Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association state tournament.

Several of the wrestlers finished in the top eight  at that tourney.

“It’s headed in the right direction,” Hodges said of the program. “Hopefully it will continue to grow.”

On the boys’ side, the Pioneers recorded a winning dual record for the 10th straight year in 2019-20.

There were some struggles and injuries, but Hodges said the wrestlers stepped up and did good things.

Nebraska City’s state medalist was Alfredo Valquier, who was also named as the Jack Hobbie Wrestler of the Year.

Matt Thompson, boys’ basketball

Athletic Director Matt Koehler delivered remarks on behalf of Coach Thompson, who was not able to attend.

Koehler relayed that the season for Nebraska City, a six-win campaign, was full of ups and downs. In the end, Nebraska City’s coach was happy with the squad’s improvement and said the Pioneers were a solid group from freshman to senior members that worked hard and was a great pleasure to be around.

The coach sent thanks out to senior members Mason Hamilton, Quintin Holman and Eli Southard for their hard work.

The William E. Thurman Male Senior Basketball Player award went to Eli Southard. Coach said that Southard, a multi-sport athlete, worked hard, never complained and was a consistent source of scoring with a 37 percent average on three-point shots and a constant near 10-point production level each game.

Jessica Rice, boys’ soccer

A total of 39 players were out for the soccer season this year at Nebraska City.

Coach Rice said she didn’t know what to expect from this group, but got quick indication through exhibitions of hard work and determination in the preseason that the Pioneers would have fielded an excellent squad.

The Arbor Bank Male Soccer Award went to two players this year.

Even though the season cancelled, Rice said these two players have put an impression on Pioneer soccer that will have drive future success.

The award winners were Noah Sammons and Jorge Loarca.